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Issue 12, 2012
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Contamination, source, and input route of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in historic wastewater-irrigated agricultural soils

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Abstract

Contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) of historic wastewater-irrigated agricultural topsoil (0–5 cm) and the contribution of groundwater irrigation and atmospheric deposition to soil PAHs were studied in a typical agricultural region, i.e. Hunpu region, Liaoning, China. Concentrations of total PAHs ranged from 0.43 to 2.64 mg kg−1 in topsoil, being lower than those found in other wastewater-irrigated areas. The levels of PAHs in soil declined as the distance from a water source increased. Concentrations of individual PAHs were generally higher in upland than in paddy topsoils. The calculated nemerow composite index showed that agricultural soil in the region was “polluted” by PAHs. A human health risk assessment based on the total toxic equivalent concentration showed that the presence of elevated concentrations of PAHs in the soil might pose a great threat to the health of local residents. Ratios of pairs of PAHs and principal component analysis (PCA) showed that pyrogenesis, such as coal combustion, was the main source of PAHs, while petroleum, to some extent, also had a strong influence on PAHs contamination in upland soil. The distribution patterns of individual PAHs and composition of PAHs differed between irrigation groundwater and topsoil, but were similar between atmospheric deposition and topsoil. There were significant linear correlations (r = 0.90; p < 0.01) between atmospheric deposition rates and average concentrations of the 16 individual PAHs in soils, while no significant relationships were observed between irrigation groundwater and topsoil in levels of PAHs. These suggested that PAHs in agricultural soils were mainly introduced from atmospheric deposition, rather than from groundwater irrigation after the phasing out of wastewater irrigation in the region since 2002. This study provides a reference to ensure agricultural product safety, pollution control, and proper soil management.

Graphical abstract: Contamination, source, and input route of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in historic wastewater-irrigated agricultural soils

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 Aug 2012, accepted on 20 Sep 2012 and first published on 17 Oct 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30650F
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2012,14, 3076-3085
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    Contamination, source, and input route of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in historic wastewater-irrigated agricultural soils

    N. Wang, H. Li, J. Long, C. Cai, J. Dai, J. Zhang and R. Wang, J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 3076
    DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30650F

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